An Iranian asylum seeker has sewn his face up and is on hunger strike in protest at his ‘inhumane treatment’ in immigration detention.
Fariat Mohammadi, an Iranian asylum seeker who fought against the Islamic regime in Iran, has been held in detention since his arrival in the UK eleven months ago. Currently held in Colnbrook immigration removal centre, he started to refuse food and stitched his eyes and mouth closed seven days ago.
Fariat, who was working in Iran for an opposition party, fled to Iraq when a friend was arrested. He sought asylum in the UK when his whereabouts became known to, and he was threatened by, the Iranian security forces.
Fariat says: ‘Why are they imprisoning me here for so long? I am a victim of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I fought against their injustices for the rights of people in Iran and had to leave because they tried to arrest me. I came to the UK and they have locked me up without rights. It is inhumane. I have been forced to take this drastic action. I haven’t been outside or seen any part of Britain since the day I arrived. They have put me in the detention centre like a criminal.’
Dashty Jamal, from the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, commented: ‘Fariat is a victim of the Home Office policy which destroys the humanity of refugees. He has not been given a chance to live as a human being in the UK. The UK government tells us it supports the struggle for human rights in Iran and yet it itself represses the Iranian people who come here to flee persecution. We call for his immediate release from detention.’
A report by Anne Owers, the chief inspector of prisons, earlier this year found that vulnerable men detained at Colnbrook were being held in ‘oppressive and degrading’ conditions, whilst bullying was found to be a ‘significant problem’.
In addition, the report described the vulnerable persons unit as ‘not fit for purpose’, said that the separation unit was being ‘misused’ and that use of force had increased. It highlighted fears expressed by both staff and management that Colnbrook was ‘struggling to cope’.
Colnbrook, which is situated near Heathrow airport in west London, is described by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) as ‘the most secure removal centre within the UKBA estate’ and has been built to category B prison standard.
Read the Chief Inspector of Prisons’ report on Colnbrook